Being You
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Being You

Not letting sociocultural expectations of body hair define you.

Being You

This series has aimed to shed light on what many consider a touchy subject. To make those who would like a space to talk about body hair and what it means for them to feel comfortable.

The fact that body hair is natural for both men and women has somehow become an opinion up for debate and have led American sociocultural norms to equate the amount of body hair a person has with the goodness of that person. That is to say, that if someone does not follow what society deems appropriate they are somehow less moral or ethical. Making people feel that if they do not follow these body hair expectations they will be seen negatively is another form of social control. Blog writer Ellen Kate of Everyday Feminism offered a way of changing the stigma that comes with body hair for both genders: education. Kate suggest that we as a society should remember that for all the reasons that people do shave, there are a whole hosts of reasons that they do not. For some, those reasons may be more practical like they think it is a waste of their time. For others, the reason might be to follow a certain aesthetic or protest traditional conventions of beauty. Speaking specifically about women she writes, “Understanding why some women choose not to shave can help you to put body-hair-shaming into context and understand why it isn’t a fair judgement to make.” Applying to both genders and multiple sexual orientations we can assert that all humans have unique experiences, and by shaming unconventional body hair practices, American society effectively discounts this fact in an effort to maintain sociocultural norms.

Although we have choices when it comes to what groups we can identify with concerning gender and sexual orientation, we become hindered in this expression when society imposes ideals around body hair. Body hair is effectively seen as a signal to others of gender and sexual orientation whether that is representative of who a person actually is or not. When body hair norms are based on such a limited ideal of what signals gender and sexuality, it excludes other genders and sexual orientations that may deviate from the quintessential. This exclusion causes people to behave in ways that are not true to who the feel they are; it causes false self-expression and unhappiness. When American beauty standards stop expecting such a specific ideal of what is acceptable when it comes to body hair, people will be more inclined to feel unbounded in how they can express their gender and sexuality. Gender and sexuality are a spectrum and body hair ideals should be reflective of this; that means being flexible with body hair expectations, or better yet, having no expectations at all.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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